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Individual health insurance is substantially different from the group medical insurance that covers the largest portion of Americans. Only 16-18% of Americans purchase their own primary health insurance outside of an employer-provided plan. Individual insurance is becoming increasingly popular within small business employee health plans and may eventually dominate this area by 2014.
Individual insurance can be classified as "medically underwritten" or "guaranteed issue". Medically underwritten means that eligibility is based on a series of questions about your health history and body build. Guaranteed issue means that you are accepted regardless of these features. If you qualify for medically underwritten coverage, this will be a better deal. Both types may place a restriction on benefits for pre-existing medical conditions for the first year of the policy.
Individual insurance can also be classified as "primary" or "supplemental". Primary usually means major medical insurance. Supplemental usually means a defined benefit policy where the benefits may be paid in cash to the policyholder. With increasing out-of-pocket costs on major medical insurance, a growing number of Americans find it necessary to maintain both primary and supplemental insurance; this is already the norm in countries like Great Britain. When considering this issue, keep in mind that the combined cost of primary insurance , supplemental insurance plus anticipated out-of-pocket expenses should not exceed 20% of your household income. If you determine that this is not possible then an alternate approach may be necessary. A health coverage screening, available on request without charge, is the best way to identify all the options and associated costs.
Premiums on individual insurance are generally lower than for group insurance. This does not mean that insurance is a better deal, but rather that the level of benefits provided is lower. It is possible, but not clearly established, that those covered by individual insurance tend to utilize insurance less frequently than those covered by group health insurance.
Individual major medical insurance is available in all states and D.C. through the state or federal exchanges. Guaranteed issue, supplemental coverage or short term coverage is available through FreedomBenefits.net for listings of the most popular plans on a state-by-state basis. Choose your state of residence to begin browsing available individual insurance plan.
This web site is independently owned and managed by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.